Fractured Tailbone

The Truth About a Fractured Tailbone

A fractured tailbone is often the result of an accident when walking stairs, exercising or simply slipping and falling on your butt. The tailbone, or 'Os Coccygis' as it is called in medical terms, is a small but essential bone at the end of the spine. It lies just above the bottom and we actually need it to sit comfortably. It is connected to many crucial muscles, nerves and strings which is why a fractured tailbone is very painful even around the hips and pelvis.

The tailbone actually consists of 4-5 vertebras, but in most humans it has melted into one bone. All vertebrates have this rudiment of a tail, but the growth of a tail in humans has regressed over time. Thus, we only have a little tail bone left as the remains of what used to be a tail.

The most common causes for a tailbone fracture are a fall on the bottom, a kick in the bottom or a tailbone fracture caused during childbirth. Patients experience extremely painful sensations when walking or sitting because the tailbone is a key regulator of these movements. Very often, a tailbone fracture is accompanied by an effusion of blood.

When you experience pain around your bottom, your doctor will firstly try to determine what caused it. During the examination the doctor may touch and move the tailbone to identify as to whether it is fractured or not. A tailbone should normally never move or able to be moved; thus, if your doctor finds that it is moving, it is most probably fractured. Since this examination can be extremely uncomfortable and painful for the patient, it is usually done with the help of pain killing medication such as injections or tablets.

When your bottom hurts and seems to be injured, it is not necessarily a fractured tailbone. Often enough people get away with mild bruise which is certainly good news as the injury will heal much quicker. Sometimes the actual injury lies within the pelvis or hip which causes pain in the tailbone due to the fact that all these body parts are connected to each other.


While a fractured tailbone is very painful, it is not the end of the world at all. Often enough it can heal on its own using a donut pillow (also called ring pillow) which takes off a lot of pressure when sitting down. That way your tailbone can naturally heal, but you will certainly get medication to ease the pain.

If your tailbone is not only fractured but also severely dislocated, the healing process is a little more complex than sitting on a foam pillow. Although doctors usually try to heal and treat a fractured tailbone without surgical interference, it is sometimes not avoidable. Surgery is particularly helpful when the tailbone does not seem to relocate on its own, and when the patient experiences severe pain over a longer period of time. The pain should certainly decrease as the healing process commences, so if you have no sign of less pain it can mean that the fracture is not healing. It is notable, though, that surgery on tailbones is extremely rare. If it is necessary, parts of the tailbone may be removed.

A fractured tailbone can cause you a headache even long after a successful therapy. This is because the tailbone is always exposed to pressure, and most patients experience reoccurring pain once in a while. So what can you do?

Firstly, hang on to that donut pillow because if you experience the pain again, you can simply reduce the pressure by sitting on that pillow. It is also important to choose the right kind of chair - so if you spend a lot of time in an office chair, make sure it is a good one. It may also help to visit classes such as Yoga or Pilates where you learn different seating positions and stretches that may aid the healing process and prevent future pain.